Witchcraft Festival in France
Chateau de Bonnu in the Town of Bonnu, it is here that at Dusk the Witch is Burnt to close the Festivities
French Witchcraft Festival in Bonnu
BONNU EN SORCELLERIE.
Bonnu is a very small village in Indre. It is part of Cuzion, a bigger village situated in the middle of France in an area also known as Berry. Bonnu is usually a very quiet village, except for the third Sunday in October when the Witchcraft fete takes place.
Although in October, the Fete de la Sorcellerie has nothing to do with Halloween. It takes place because Witchcraft still exists in Berry. We can see it in this festival and in everyday life with the people who live in here. Most of all it was the writings of George Sand that popularised the image of Berry as a Witchcraft region. But I also have several friends that have used the services of a ‘healer' on different occasions to cure burns, acne, vitiligo and eccema. It is not rare to find someone who reads the Tarot and for 30 euros a month you can take a 4 hour class to learn the imagery of the Tarot cards.
A Religious Service to start the Festival
This year, Sunday 21st of October , the witchcraft festival started in the morning with a religious service offered to Saint Luc. The service was followed by a procession of a wooden image of Saint Luc accompanied by the chorale the Orsennes.
The festival lasts the whole day and the main theme is witchcraft and black magic. There are several shows and exhibitions including the burning of the Witch at the stake at the end of the day. This is followed by fireworks in the grounds of the Chateau the Bonnu.
In the afternoon, there was a show offered by a Mariachi Valdez. I couldn't believe my ears. Here I was in the middle of France eating French cheese and wine from Valençay and hearing the ‘Malagueña" in the background, with a lovely Mexican lady dancing in her traditional costume. Crazy...
There were also all kind of witches and devils and strange creatures parading along the streets. The 'Gargouilles' were especially realistic and scary. Also there was a lady reading the Tarot cards to the public.
This year in the house of the Witch there was a beautiful exhibition about wolfs, and fairies and other little magic creatures who live in the woods, like the Campanula.
Like in most of this fetes, at the end of the evening there was a free ball animated by "Les Copains de la Brenne"
HOW TO GET TO BONNU?
The closest airport is LIG - Limoges Bellegarde 73.5 km south west.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE IN BONNU
- The Chateau
- The lake beach
Some Fairies and Witches in Berry:
Les martes ou marses:
They are mischievous fairies. Especially feared on the 1st of May when they walk around the fields spreading the dew with their long dresses. It is believed that the cows who eat the grass touched by the dew spread by the fairies will not give good milk. Their milk will be bluish and lacking in taste and cream.
- Les Fades :
They are well meaning fairies who love to work in the fields and thus protect the agriculture and the people who work in the fields.
This is a demon who likes horses. The ones he takes a liking to, will survive and become stronger and more beautiful under his care. But the ones that he dislikes slim down until they die.
With some French Witches
The Regional Produce Market
But as I am not much into religion, I only came for the Marche aux produits regionaux which is a market of regional products. This is my weakness in France. I cannot pull myself off the cheese stalls. I want to try every thing. There were regional wines, cheeses, sausages and breads. There were also natural soaps and straw baskets, dried flower arrangements, paintings, and many other artesanal products of the region.
My "star buy" this year was a Blue de chevre which is blue goat's cheese. I mean, imagine a piece of Roquefort, its texture and flavour... now go a bit farther and change that texture for a creamier one and you are near to the texture and looks of a blue de Auvergne. Now imagine that blue de Auvergene ten times as powerful on your tastebuds and you might be close to a blue de chevre! Strong and powerful, but also creamy and melting in your mouth. Certainly not an experience for the weak!
Cheese Stalls at French Fresh Produce Market
Witchcraft and Magic in Europe
An analysis of supernatural beliefs in Europe with an especial focus on the prosecutions for the crime of witchcraft. The scientific interest in magic spells and demonology as an intellectual pursuit are also covered in detail.
My Witchy Findings at the French Witch Festival
Witchcraft is deeply tied down to the beliefs and traditions in the Berry, the rural France. For the peasants in Berry, all unforeseen disaster had a supernatural cause; the result of a jinx. For example, it is believed that a four-leaf clover and the hawthorn will fight away a jinx.
Talking about witchcraft let me share with you some of my "witchy" findings at the Bonnu's witchcraft festival.
The seventh child
It was traditional that the seventh boy born without interruption from a girl, was a witch. His speciality being to cure fevers.
Good luck superstitions
For a child to have good luck it was stated that he should eat the first egg laid by a young chick.
RECIPE TO BE LUCKY AT GAMES OF SKILL AND CHANCE
To be lucky at games of skill and chance: You can make yourself a lucky bracelet. I found this "recipe" on the Musee de la Sorcellerie in Blancafort.
You will need:
- An eel that died for lack of water,
- A gall of a bull killed by fierce dogs
- Vulture blood
- Hanged man's rope.
- Warm dung
- Fern picked up on the eve of Midsummer Day
- A raven feather
- Your blood.
Take the eel and the gall, put it into the eel skin with a drachme of vulture blood. Then tie the eel skin with hanged man's rope at both ends, and leave in warm dung for fifteen days.
Then dry in an oven heated with fern. Next make a bracelet and write on it the four letters HYTV using a raven feather and your blood.
With this bracelet around your arm, fortune will smile on you everywere.